AFRO HOUSE MUSIC : FRESH OR OVERRATED ?


A recent phenomenon that has proved a force to be reckoned with is Afro-House Music. Globally and regionally, afro house music is something that is here to stay. One can’t help but sway back and forth to the gentle yet stimulating afro house beat sounds. It unites all Africans as the main sound is the drum which is traditionally heard in all parts of the continent. The drum fuses with classic jazz sounds and modern house music sounds is what it makes it so irresistible. Or so they say.


 
Personally, I don’t see what the hype is. I find beauty in the sounds of Fela Kuti, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Angelique Kidjo, Bi Kidude and the likes. These are real African musicians. They took something so pure and preserved it, they gave African music a platform and a voice that was heard all over the world. Who can forget Miriam Makeba’s “Maliaka?” or Fela Kuti’s “Beng Beng” Who would want to? What makes music from that era so special was the purity of it; these legends were proud to be African and were not afraid to show it. They often performed in their respective African clothes singing about African issues and African struggles that moved people to tears. Their sound is authentic and identifiable, you know who you are listening to the minute the song starts playing. 

This Afro-beat or afro-house that is being peddled by majority of African musicians lacks originality. Okay so it has the drum at its center piece; but that doesn’t make it uniquely African. More importantly, it does not make it pure. And that’s what music, especially African music, is supposed to be – pure. It doesn’t move you; it doesn’t even have a message. It’s just something that you listen to while you’re in the club. Majority of the time the listeners have no idea what is being sang about or who is singing it. How can people claim that this is something that makes them feel “more connected to their roots?” . I can’t see the logic behind this statement. In my opinion afro-house music was invented to make it seem that Africa has not been left behind in terms of evolving with the world music scene while still trying to hold on to the African sound. I say that people need to stop trying to fix something that was never broken. This is one of those rare occasions where OLD IS GOLD! 

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